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Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 5:30am

Hunstein Will Focus On Juvenile Justice

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein will give her fourth and final State of the Judiciary Address Thursday morning.

A major highlight of her speech will be juvenile justice reform, a main point of concern for the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform, on which Hunstein serves. Close to 65 percent of juveniles currently in the system will re-offend according to the council.

The council suggests more evidence-based community supervision and programs to reduce the recidivism rates in their 2012 report.

Governor Nathan Deal expressed similar sentiments in his State of the State Address this year. He's requesting $5 million in fiscal year 2014 for community-based non-confinement programs for certain juvenile offenders.

Representative Wendell Willard (R-Sandy Springs) is finalizing legislation that could be the groundwork for such programs. He says his legislation separates offenders into two categories: Class A and Class B. "Those [classes] will determine what type of detention the child would receive," he says.

Hunstein is also expected to focus heavily on funding issues. According to a press release issued by the Supreme Court of Georgia, "Hunstein will emphasize that Georgia's judiciary is funded with less than one percent of the state budget."

The speech will be given before a joint session of the House and Senate in the House Chamber.

Watch it live at 11 a.m, and then to tune in to PrimeTime Lawmakers at 7 p.m. on GPB TV for an in-depth look at the State of the Judiciary Address and for more on juvenile justice reform.